I’ve heard it said wisdom comes with age.

Horse radish!  Hands up those who enjoy getting older?  Nobody?  That’s a surprise.  Nobody enjoys middle-age spread? Nightly exercise driven by enlarged prostates? Remembering to forget? Acquiring wisdom is one thing but, if you can’t recall any of it, what earthly good is it?

But of all the over-rated baggage disguised as “graceful aging”, there’s one particular pleasure that immediately disproves all the hysterical, exaggerated hype about growing old.  Sing along to the tune of Dan Hill’s “Sometimes when we touch”

                   “I don’t like getting older.                                                                                            It doesn’t seem quite fair.                                                                                                          Your  memory fades; you need a hearing aid                                                                              and you lose your hair.                                                                                                              The young men get the women                                                                                                  but I don’t give a damn                                                                                                            cause there’s something I get more often                                                                                       than any younger man.

                A colonoscopy.  A colonoscopy.                                                                           It stirs such feelings deep inside of me.                                                                       When I turned 53, a colonoscopy                                                                         opened up a whole new world for me.

That was comedy legend Robert Klein’s experience.  I was in my early thirties when the dreaded procedure first reared its ugly head. Symptoms the details of which created the acronym “tmi” were followed by a test of such discomfiture and embarrassment (barium enema) that I thought couldn’t be surpassed. When the recommended surgeon acted atypically and sent me to the great Dr Michael Lee (as he then was) I breathed a sigh of relief to have avoided the knife.

More fool me.  Little did I know what was ahead (or, to be more accurate, behind) for me.  In his usual calm, unruffled monotone, Michael Lee outlined the process.  Back then, it began with 3 days of starvation.  No solids.  At all.  I took to bed.  Then, at noon on the third day I was instructed to rise again and take three tablespoons of castor oil.  Now this ancient remedy many will recall as signalling the end of summer holidays and life as we knew it.  From then I understood clearly that, in any future world of chemical warfare, castor oil was something that couldn’t be allowed to fall into the hands of Jamaica’s enemies.

It’s a nuclear laxative. That evening’s experience was akin to a space-shuttle launch with me as the shuttle.  Like a sad movie, it was a moving experience.  I occupied the bathroom like a captured outpost spurting violentlyI’ve heard “Anything goes”.  Well, everything did.

Then, blessed sleep.  Upon waking, I travelled, as instructed, to a small cottage behind Nuttall where I met Jamaica’s Rosa Klebb; a devout lady called Nurse Athias.  She was very, very thorough.  I was repeatedly pumped full of gallons of water then sent to the little room cheeks clenched tighter than a cow’s rear end in fly season.  After the second trip, Nurse Athias came to inspect my product with her Bureau of Standards stamp.

“I can’t send you to Doctor Lee unless you’re perfectly clean” she cooed like a pigeon finding its way home.  Finally, weak and embarrassed, I staggered up UWI’s minor ops’ stairs muttering “this can’t get worse”.  That’s the day I learned never to challenge “worse”.

They led me to a room full of other prospective victims.  There, inside a little curtained space, I replaced my clothes with one of those hospital gowns designed by sadist perverts to make you feel even more naked than when you’re actually naked. By then you’re a broken man who just follows orders so I sat on a cold bench beside other condemned men (and women) all similarly unclad and awaited my turn at the gallows.

                A tiny TV camera 4 feet inside of me.                                                                                            Some valium in a very large sum and some Vasel                                                            I don’t have lots of courage.                                                                                                            I know myself no doubt                                                                                                               but my gastroenterologist                                                                                                      knows me inside out.

I was given a light ‘sedative’ told to roll over on my left side; then Michael Lee approached from behind with a 10,000 foot long garden hose.  “Seriously?” I mumbled to him hearing Abba’s appropriately named “Dancing Queen” on his radio. “Want me to turn it up?” he asked innocently unwittingly providing future political inspiration.

A colonoscopy.                                                                                                                               A colonoscopy.                                                                                                                                                        It means so much to see                                                                                                         myself internally.                                                                                                                       And, for a modest fee,                                                                                                                   a colonoscopy,                                                                                                                     opened up a whole new world……(for me)

                It’s an apprehensive moment when the doctor asks you to bend.                         It’s a long long tunnel but I see the light at the end.”

Age?  Wisdom?  Bah! Humbug!

Peace and Love


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